Over my years as an SEM Account Manager, I’ve worked with a number of small and medium-sized businesses and know the challenges they face when trying to grow their paid search accounts. All too often, low traffic to category pages, small budgets, and lack of brand awareness get in the way of pushing an SMB’s paid search account into maturity and ultimately allowing it to capitalize on all the latest and greatest AdWords features.

One valuable tool to help SMBs overcome these challenges is paid social. Paid social can provide traffic and awareness at a fairly low cost. Here are three ways paid social can be used to supplement paid search.

Build up remarketing lists with traffic from paid social

SMBs can have a hard time building strong remarketing lists in AdWords because their category pages get fairly low traffic. For example, let’s say you have three pages related to category “A,” but when you try to build a remarketing list off of traffic from only those three pages, you end up with a list size like this one:

remarketing audience

This can be discouraging for SMBs that want to run targeted remarketing ads using category-specific messaging. To increase remarketing list sizes, send paid social traffic to category pages, or (even better) write a few blog posts about this category and send the traffic there. At the current level of cost per clicks on social, this is a great way to capture a targeted audience at a low cost.

Grow customer match lists with paid social lead ads

Customer match is a great, new feature in AdWords, but in order to use it, you need a list size of at least 1,000 matched emails. And depending on the match rate your list gets, you could actually need anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 email addresses in your list upload. This can make it challenging to create segmented customer match lists. To build these up, use social lead gen ads. Facebook and Twitter both offer lead gen ad formats that capture a user’s email address within the social site. Here is an example of a Facebook lead gen ad:

lead gen ads

When setting up the lead gen ads, be as specific as you like in targeting your customer match audience. And also be sure to make it clear the user is signing up to receive marketing messages from you (like a newsletter) so you are in line with Google’s policies for customer match.

Use paid social to increase brand search traffic

Another challenge SMBs face is low brand awareness, which in turn leads to low traffic on their brand paid search campaign. Use social to get your brand in front of your target market and introduce yourself. If you have a product or service that is fairly new, people probably aren’t searching for it…yet. Building brand awareness through social is an inexpensive way to get people to know about you and pique their interest enough to search for you on Google.

Using these three tactics on paid social can help SMBs capture a targeted audience in an inexpensive way and set up paid search to successfully convert them into customers.

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Jamie McLeod
Jamie moved down from Portland, OR to join the 3Q Digital team in San Diego, CA. She is a self-proclaimed “data-nerd” and spent six years working for a web analytics company. She enjoys bouldering, dancing, and spoiling her maltese puppy.